Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Important case goes before the Court of Appeals

New York Appeals Court hears dispute over church ownership

Please keep these deliberations in your prayers...

from here
...ALBANY, N.Y. - In a property dispute stemming from the national Episcopal rift over the ordination of a gay bishop, the attorney for All Saints Anglican Church urged New York's Court of Appeals Tuesday to order the Rochester Diocese to return its building.

Secular state law and not ecclesiastical canon should govern the transfer of property in New York, attorney Eugene Van Voorhis argued for the parish. "All of the funds that bought the church, built the church, bought the land, all was donated by parishioners," he said.

"This has to do with legal principles," Van Voorhis said. "It has nothing to do with doctrinal disputes."

With about 100 similar cases in courts around the country, diocese attorney Thomas P. Smith said this appeared to be the first to reach a state's top court. At issue is whether the parishioners who built the church own it, or whether they simply held it in trust for the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA and the diocese under the national church's 1979 Dennis Canons.


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